HARARE - The Zanu PF faction backing embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted presidential ambitions has apparently gone berserk in the Midlands — as the ruling party’s deadly factional and succession wars continue to escalate.
Interim Midlands chairperson Tapiwa Matangaidze told the Daily News yesterday that since many of Mnangagwa’s top lieutenants were booted out of the party last week, the political climate in the province had become very tense, amid reports of heightened intimidation targeted at those perceived to be against the Midlands godfather’s presidential ambitions.
“They have militia which they call Al-Shabab. Gold panners are being forced to join them and to pay them money that is being used in terror campaigns. The gold panners are being victimised and living in fear.
“These people must stop their actions. They even threatened me after our last provincial meeting but I am not intimidated. I am ready to confront any rogue elements in the province.
“This Al-Shabab group of thugs must know that we are ready to fight for our president (President Robert Mugabe). My coming in as chairman has exposed their evil deeds and they also know that my appointment as the chairman will end their political survival,” Matangaidze said.
Contacted for comment, Zanu PF national spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said the party was investigating the Midlands fiasco, amid reports that Team Lacoste was setting up parallel party structures in the province, after losing power.
“We are investigating the matter regarding the issue of parallel structures in the Midlands province,” he said circumspectly, without giving further details.
As the ruling party’s succession wars turn increasingly nastier, the Midlands province — which is Mnangagwa’s stronghold — is among the worst affected in the country.
The VP’s regional supporters are vowing that they will not go down without a spirited fight, with parallel structures being set up at all levels and officially splitting the party into two in the troubled province.
Indeed, as Matangaidze was announcing the party’s decision to sack many of Mnangagwa’s trusted allies last week, including July Moyo, the Midlands godfather’s regional allies were openly mobilising their followers, creating their own structures.
“It’s war here. For every G40 structure, there is now a parallel Team Lacoste one, and vice-versa. Our worry is how this will be resolved going into 2018,” a regional party official said.